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DATE

News (chronologically)

12/31/02

CART announces Spring Training dates    Serving as the symbolic start of the CART racing season for a seventh consecutive year, Championship Auto Racing Teams today announced the dates for its annual Spring Training event which will kick off the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. CART will incorporate its newest race venue into this year's Spring Training festivities with media and promotional activities kicking off the event in St. Petersburg, Florida February 2-3. The St. Pete off-track activities will then be followed by three days of Spring Training testing at Florida's Sebring International Raceway from February 4-6. Spring Training will feature the first chance for the media to meet and greet the drivers and teams of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, and will get under way Sunday night in St. Petersburg with a welcome celebration featuring the drivers of the 2003 CART Champ Car season open to the media and the CART community. St. Petersburg will be the site of the 2003 season opener just two weeks later, February 21-23, as the Champ Car World Series will kick off its race schedule with a new street race in the Florida city. Monday will be full of press and promotional opportunities, including a CART transporter parade, a pit-stop demonstration, a press conference featuring all 2003 Champ Car drivers and a chance to see a 775hp Champ Car running exhibition laps on part of the St. Petersburg street course. The caravan will then journey to Sebring for three days of on-track action. There will be two testing sessions per day for each of the three days as the teams and drivers prepare to start the hunt for the 2003 Vanderbilt Cup.

12/31/02

Hornish at the Orange Bowl    Two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. will be a guest of ABC Sports at the 2003 FedEx Orange Bowl Jan. 2 in Miami. “To have ABC Sports invite me to attend this game as their guest is a real privilege,” said Hornish, who will watch No. 3 Iowa battle No. 5 USC from the sidelines of Pro Player Stadium. The football game will be televised live at 8 p.m. (EST) on ABC.

12/31/02

Pook on the offensive again  In this CART.com article released today, Chris Pook says - "I never believed it would be with this level of intensity," Pook said. "I never believed it would take so much work and there would be so much bad blood to deal with. This stuff was brutal! There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that those guys were trying to put this company out of business." "Those guys" refers to CART team owner Chip Ganassi and IRL owner-to-be Michael Andretti, who were very vocal in declaring that CART would not surive into 2003. Pook believes Ganassi and Andretti as well as certain people at Toyota and Honda wanted to see CART eradicated, handing total victory to Tony George and the IRL. Pook avoids naming Ganassi and Andretti, but speaks directly about their tactics. "The worst part was being trashed on the inside by our own people who had made their living, made their careers, made a lot of money in this series," Pook remarked. "I found that disgusting and immoral, as well as all this crap about 'I've just got to make a living.' Don't trash the series that made you be where you are today. People who do that have major character flaws in my opinion. Those are harsh words, but they're factual. "They said there was no way CART could produce 18 cars next year and that Pook's a liar. They said he's just telling these lies to keep people here. It was very bad stuff, undermining us in the middle of our paddock, saying stuff like Tony (George) and Roger (Penske) are right, that the best thing to happen would be to put CART out of business and have one open-wheel series. Some very naughty stuff was said."

12/31/02
Industry News

Satisfied AR1 customer  Dear AR1 Staff, A happy New Year to all and continuing success to the finest source of news and information in the world of motorsport. I am sure that not long ago, many "experts" had already written AR1's obituary when you decided to become a subscription based site, and to their chagrin, you have survived. And for good reason!  Case in point: While attending the WCFC meeting season's end Fontana 2001, three out of five of the drivers who were on stage admitted that they referred to AR1's silly season page daily because it had the reputation of knowing where drivers would be the following season, and had more and better insider information than themselves or their "people". Though I still visit some other sites and still maintain one surviving magazine subscription, AR1 is quickly making them obsolete! By the time they have a story, I have had already read it on AR1 many days earlier. Thank you again for outstanding professionalism and journalistic excellence. I look forward to 2003's racing season and hope to see you all at the track! Yours, George N. Ponnay III, Newport Beach CA.  Dear Mr. Ponnay, Thanks for the kind words.  It makes all the hard work worth it.  Happy New Year to you and each of our customers......who we consider our extended family.  Mark C.

12/31/02

CART stock watch  Today's NYSE Trading In MPH
MPH closed at $3.70 Up $0.05 on Volume of 66,800 shares.
The high of the session was reached during a flurry of afternoon buying that abated by 3:00PM EST when sellers began to push the price down to it’s $3.70 close. 43% of the session volume was done during the final hour.
$3.70 Bid - $3.73 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.64 / $3.87
MPH Value Change Up 1.37%
DOW Jones Up 8.78 or 0.11% on Volume of 1.46 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 4.04 or 0.3%
S&P 500 Up 0.43 or 0.05%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/31/02
Industry News

Colaninno planning Fiat rescue  According to this Grandprix.com article, it is being reported in Italy that Roberto Colaninno, the man who masterminded a takeover of Telecom Italia, is planning an $8bn rescue plan for Fiat. The La Repubblica newspaper reported that the car company would be rescued using money raised by the sale of Fiat's aviation and insurance divisions. Colaninno would drop the option for General Motors to buy the car company, which would be restructured to make it a viable business again. The bid would see Colaninno take over as the group's main investor but would leave the Agnelli Family with an important shareholding. Such a move would inevitably be a threat for Ferrari, although the Agnelli Family is not expected to agree any deal with Colaninno unless he agrees not to indulge in future sell-offs such as Ferrari.

12/31/02
Industry News

Paul Tracy wakes up to AR1  This Toronto Star article features an interview with CART veteran Paul Tracy.  We were happy to read that Paul starts his day off with AutoRacing1.com....like Wheaties, The Breakfast of Champions.

12/31/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Coulthard Disappointed For McNish
French Plaudits For F1's Schumacher
BMW To Decide On Formula One Future
Brief: Pitstops And Pocket Racers
Coulthard: We Can Beat Ferrari In '03
Company Eyes Turkish F1 Project
Michelin Use New Rules To Full Effect

12/31/02
Industry News

Internet usage becoming way of life in the USA  The Internet has become a staple source of information for American households, especially with regard to health care, government services, potential purchases, and AutoRacing1.com information a survey to be issued on Monday finds (only kidding about the AR1 plug, but you get the point). About 60 per cent of 2,000 people surveyed in the Pew Internet and American Life Project study said they used the Web regularly. Two-thirds of those had been online for three or more years. At least 80 per cent of the Internet users questioned in September and October said they expected to find reliable news, health care information and government services information on the Web. Almost as many Internet users, 79 per cent, said they expected to find a business with a Web site that will give them information about a product they are considering buying. "With the passage of time, people are gaining more experience and comfort with the Internet and what it offers," report author John Horrigan said in an interview. "People value the vast array of information online, and new search engines give them the ability to noodle along and find what they want," Mr Horrigan said. The "network of networks" has become integral part to the daily routines of millions of North Americans, agrees Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto professor and the co-author of the book "The Internet and Everyday Life". "Even five years ago the Internet was seen as very special, a privileged and very unique thing," Mr Wellman said. "Now it is routinely accepted into peoples lives, especially younger folks." "We now expect the physical hardware to be there, in hotels, in schools."   "There's a certain seamlessness to it. In many ways, it is integrated into everything we do." The Pew Research Center describes itself as an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues and is sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, charitable funds established between 1949 and 1979 by the children of Joseph Pew, the founder of Sun Oil (as in Sunoco, as in rumored CART sponsor).

12/31/02

History of CART/IRL split  We have added a permanent link to our CART and IRL pages which contains a running history of the split between CART and the IRL.  Chris Biordi is the author and some of the other useful web pages he maintains are here.

12/30/02

Fogarty gunning for CART in 2003  In this CART.com article, Jon Fogarty says “My goal, of course, is CART,” he added. “The future is wide open. I'm going to do everything I can though to end up in a CART car next year."

12/30/02

HSBC and Arrows  According to this Grandprix.com article, just before Christmas HSBC appointed receivers over the assets of the Arrows Formula 1 team. This move was the result of a debenture (a document which offers security for a loan) which Arrows agreed with HSBC when the bank agreed to loan the team money in March 2002. The debenture covers all of the team's assets other than the Bedford wind tunnel, which is mortgaged to the Bank of Wales. In British law a debenture holder may appoint a receivers if it feels that repayment of the loan or its security is threatened and if the borrower has breached the loan agreements. The receiver is nominated by the bank and acts as a "administrative receiver", taking over the running of the company from the directors in an effort to realize its assets usually by selling the business as a going concern. The receiver acts as the agent of the company for a maximum period of three months and then a decision must be made as to whether it should be liquidated. The administrative receiver has no authority to deal with the claims of other creditors and if sufficient funds become available for distribution to the other creditors they must be dealt with by a separately appointed liquidator. In effect this means that the team's administration petition, which was to have been heard as soon as the trial between Arrows and Morgan Grenfell comes to an end, is no longer necessary but the winding-up order from Heinz-Harald Frentzen and other creditors will go ahead as planned on January 13.

12/30/02

Roberto González happy to have waited on CART  In this El Norte article, new Walker Racing CART Mexican rookie Roberto González says that while he had the opportunity to enter the CART series in 2002, he was happy that the deal did not ultimately materialize.  Instead he went to Europe to compete in the Telefonica World Series (essentially F3000 powered by more powerful Nissan engines).  While his results yielded little in terms of on-track success, he believes that he gained a tremendous amount of experience and maturity in the process.  He feels that he will now be better prepared to tackle the challenges of the 2003 Bridgestone presents the CART Champ Car World Series powered by Ford than had he entered the series a year earlier.  Steven N. Levinson

12/30/02

Villeneuve pans the IRL...again  UPDATE In this SPEED TV article, Dario Franchitti responds to the criticism from Jacques Villeneuve that driving an IRL car on ovals is nothing more than 100% throttle racing. Dario says Jacques should keep his mouth shut until he has actually driven an IRL car.  Dario does admit he will miss the road courses terribly, but he is now officially a 100% throttle, left turn only driver.  12/25/02 - Former Indy 500 winner, CART champion and now F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve tells Autosport Magazine (December 19-26 year-end issue) Dario Franchitti is going to be bored in the IRL next year.  He paints a bleak picture for the oval-based series that he claims "single-handedly destroyed open wheel racing in America."  He says, "the level of the IRL championship is not even at F3000, and the F3000 cars are more professional than the IRL.  I was talking to IRL drivers who were driving in the Indy 500 this year and they said within two laps they were driving flat-out the full lap (we call that 100% throttle racing).  There's no skill involved."  "Purely on driving, I was speaking to a few ex-CART guys at Penske who have already moved to the IRL and they hate it.  They really find it boring - it's dangerous and they're not having fun."  "But hey, that's where the contract is and, at the end of the day it's a job that has to be done.  If that's all you can get, then that's what you do."  [Editor's Note:  Ouch]

12/30/02

Major block of CART stock changes hands  UPDATE MPH closed at $3.65 Down $0.14 on Volume of 561,100 shares.  At 11:52AM EST 522,200 shares traded at $3.50 p/share Down $0.30 p/share from the previous trade and down $0.44 p/share from the high trade of the session to that point.
$3.00 Bid - $3.95 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.50 / $3.94
MPH Value Change Down 3.69%
DOW Jones Down 8.5 or 0.85% on Volume of 1.34 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 8.79 or 0.65%
S&P 500 Up 3.99 or 0.46%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com 12/30/02 - A very large block of CART stock (522,000 shares) changed hands around mid-day today.  The sale had very little affect on the stock price.  We suspect it may have been a big investor, or a institution selling before year-end.

12/30/02

Witherill, Fike renew  Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike will return to Hemelgarn/Johnson Motorsports for the 2003 Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series season, team officials announced Dec. 30. Both American drivers won a race in 2002 during the inaugural season of the Indy Racing League’s development series, Witherill winning at Nashville and Fike at Chicagoland. Witherill finished fourth and Fike fifth in the series standings.

12/30/02


Indy to offer behind-the-scenes tours  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum again will offer the public an insider’s view of the world-famous Speedway grounds with a 1.5-hour “Behind the Scenes” Grounds Tour during the summer of 2003. The dates for the 2003 grounds tours: Saturday, June 14, Sunday, June 15, Saturday, June 28, Sunday, June 29, Saturday, July 5, Sunday, July 6, Saturday, July 19, Sunday, July 20, Saturday, Aug. 16, Sunday, Aug. 17, Saturday, Aug. 23, Sunday, Aug. 24, Saturday, Sept. 6, Sunday, Sept. 7.  Tours are scheduled to depart the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum at 9:30 a.m. (EST), 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. each of those dates. The tours will offer an in-depth view of the Speedway’s evolution over the past 92 years. Participants will receive a guided tour of the 2.5-mile oval and unprecedented access to the Speedway’s most important landmarks, including the Gasoline Alley Suites, the start/finish line and the famous “Yard of Bricks,” the four-story media center, the Pagoda Control Tower’s timing and scoring suite, the victory platform and the Gasoline Alley garage area. “Our grounds tours have become a popular summertime attraction because it provides the public with access to areas of the Speedway that are not available to the public at any other time,” said Ellen Bireley, manager, IMS Hall of Fame Museum. “From viewing the museum’s collection of historic cars and equipment, to the latest technology in the timing and scoring suite, and the SAFER Barrier on the racetrack, our Grounds Tour guests will leave with a true appreciation of the development of automobile racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” Tickets for the tours are $25 for adults, $10 for children age 6-15 and free for children age 5 and younger, and are available at the Hall of Fame Museum. Tour tickets can also be ordered by mail. Send a check or money order payable to IMSF to:
Hall of Fame Museum/Grounds Tour
4790 W. 16th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
For additional information on the Grounds Tour or other Hall of Fame Museum attractions, call (317) 492-6747, or e-mail mgeiss@brickyard.com.

12/30/02
Industry News

SPEED Channel adds households  SPEED Channel's January Nielsen universe estimate is 55,514,000 U.S. homes -- an increase of 708,000 homes from December. In the last 12 months, SPEED has added 8,996,000 homes -- 8th fastest growing in cable. In the last 24 months, SPEED has added 23,074,000 homes, keeping its position as the fastest growing sports network. With more than 4.5 million homes in Canada, SPEED Channel is now available in more than 60 million North American households.

12/30/02

Coulthard says Toyota will regret dumping McNish  "I'm disappointed for Allan - I think he did a good, solid job for them. He would have done an even better job next year, when he would have known the circuits,” David Coulthard told the Mirror.  “Allan and Panis would have made a really good combination, but I think Toyota took the view they couldn't get rid of Salo and keep Allan, which is very hard on Allan."

12/30/02

Williams praying BMW will renew  Williams will find out if they are to continue their partnership with engine-builder BMW in mid-January, according to team boss Sir Frank Williams. BMW chose the Didcot-based team to help them return to Formula One in 2000. But the original partnership deal ends in 2004 and some have suggested BMW may opt to go it alone as an F1 constructor. But Williams hinted he would like to continue with BMW. "The people of BMW are one of the most intelligent and business-minded with whom I've ever worked with," he said. "They use the budget extremely efficiently. Since the executive directors have decided to join F1 they have been working at 100%. "Continuity is as important as optimal communication. Especially since we're located in Great Britain, BMW in Munich and our tire partner Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand. "It is very important that all persons involved work together as long as possible." BBC [Editor's Note:  what did you expect Frank Williams to say?  If BMW dumps his team, he will be up a stream without a paddle].

Announcement

Happy Holidays   The staff at AutoRacing1.com would like to thank all of our subscribers for being part of the AutoRacing1.com family and wish all of you and your families a great Holiday Season. 

12/30/02

French newspaper picks Schumacher  Michael Schumacher has been voted the “Champion of Champions” for the second successive year by journalists from the French sporting daily “L’Equipe”. Schumacher who won his fifth world title in 2002, equaling the all-time record of the late great Juan-Manuel Fangio, received 144 votes out of a possible 180. He finished ahead of Janica Kostelic, the impressive young Croatian skier, and Brazilian football star Roberto Carlos. Schumacher next year will bid to win his sixth World Championship and fourth in a row. No driver in history has won six titles. The 33-year-old is already the most successful race winner, having overtaken Alain Prost’s mark of 51 when he won the Belgian Grand Prix in 2001.

12/30/02

2002 FIA Championship winners  Here is a comprehensive list of the 2002 FIA Championships, Cups, Trophies and Challenge winners.  More.....

12/30/02
Industry News

Kentucky Speedway strikes deal with Tickets.com  The Kentucky Speedway has agreed to a five-year contract to sell its tickets through Tickets.com Inc., a nationwide network that facilitates sales of tickets for sporting and entertainment events. The agreement takes effect Jan. 6, according to a news release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Tickets.com will sell single-event ticket and Reserved RV camping passes for Kentucky Speedway events. Tickets will be available at select locations in Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. Tickets.com also will sell tickets online at http://www.tickets.com or by phone at (888) 652-RACE. Kentucky Speedway will continue to sell season ticket packages and season Reserved RV camping passes. The speedway also will sell its single-event tickets.

12/30/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Ralf Ready For Championship Spoils
Wilson: All I Want To Do Is Drive
Alain Prost Eyes NASCAR Success
Irvine Stifles Flame Of Optimism
Massa Too Young For F1: Peter Sauber
Long, Painful Death For Formula One?
Minardi: Ferrari Will Reign Supreme
Da Matta Stares Into Formula One
Davidson: No Envy For Button Challenge
Zanardi: A Lesson About Adversity
Early Tests For New Renault Package

12/30/02

Happy Holidays from Racing Engineering  Racing Engineering, a rumored possible new CART team, sends these Holiday Greeting cards.  Note the drawing of the Telefonica World Series (F3000) car on the right.  CART would do well to have their new 2005 cars look so sleek......proportionally looks just about right, even better than the real cars.

12/30/02

CART Ford GT Pace Car poster  UPDATE  Added (bottom left) is a poster showing the specs of the Ford GT, which has been approved for limited production by Ford. Superchargers and Turbochargers are being used with increasing frequency production cars in recent years.  If for some reason CART does not adopt the F1 V10 engine for 2005, perhaps a Supercharged 2.65L V8 would make an interesting alternative as suggested by Dick Pong on these pages. 12/27/02 - Dick Pong submitted this Supercharged Ford GT CART pace car poster (Bottom Left) for your enjoyment.  The Ford GT will likely debut in a CART race after Ford's 100th birthday (June 2003).


Ford GT (2),  Ford Mustang, Ford Cosworth, Toyota Atlantic Posters

12/29/02

Tom Kristensen wins yet another award   Race driver Tom Kristensen without any doubt is the most popular sportsman in Denmark 2002. Just before New Year he won the last of the three big national sports awards, an achievement which has never been seen before in his country. This time Kristensen won the BT Gold Price, which is given by 40 of Denmark’s leading athletes. The Le Mans-winner won this price in 2001 as well, but this year he took the Grand Slam by also winning the TV 2 Zulu Award (a public award) and the ”Sportsman of the Year Award” (a price given by the leading sports organizations). “I have been speechless since I won the first award, so now I really don’t know what to say,” said the popular winner in Danish television in front of 28 percent of his countrymen. “Three years ago I would never have dreamt, that a race driver could win all these prices, because normally Danes are into football, handball and bicycling. But Le Mans has turned big, thanks to my success with Audi. Although I probably have said it once or twice before I would like to thank my families in both Denmark and Ingolstadt. I couldn’t have done all this on my own,” said an emotionally very touched Kristensen.

12/29/02
Industry News

Japanese carmakers rushing headlong into China   The race is on for a slice of the Chinese auto racing market.  F1 already has their slice.  Who will be next?  Meanwhile, the race is also on for a slice of China's booming car market, with major Japanese carmakers investing heavily to make up for their late entry behind pole position holder Volkswagen, analysts say. Honda Motor, Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor recently announced plans to expand vehicle production in China and strengthen ties with local firms to meet surging demand as living standards there improved. Analysts said risks - such as competition from foreign rivals and logistical problems - were high, but potential rewards were too good to miss. Credit Suisse First Boston car analyst Koji Endo said China had the world's fastest-growing car market, with sales this year expected to hit 1.2 million units and surge to between five and six million by 2010. German car giant Volkswagen, which entered China 20 years ago, controlled about 40 per cent of the market last year. The United States' General Motors followed closely behind, boosted in large part by a joint venture formed in 1995 with Shanghai Automotive Industry, analysts said. Honda, as the first of Japan's car giants to enter the market, is the most successful, having forged good relationships with local producers. Hoping for even greater success, Japan's No 2 carmaker said earlier this month it would invest heavily in the country to double production capacity to 240,000 units by early 2004. Toyota and Nissan had also pumped money into their Chinese operations. Last month, Toyota president Fujio Cho, predicting a market boom due to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said: "In China we are banking on a market share in the order of 10 per cent - 300,000 or 400,000 vehicles by around 2007-2008." A late entry in China, Toyota took a big step towards catching up with rivals in August by announcing a tie-up with local giant First Automotive Works to make saloons, minivans and sport utility vehicles. Mr Endo said: "Toyota will be successful but it takes time. It took Honda five years to get where it is, so it will probably take Toyota three to five years to reach that level." Analysts said Nissan, too, must work to catch up. Mr Endo, referring to a deep-rooted animosity between China and Japan, said: "Also Japanese things are not really liked in China because of the historical background. "German and American cars are relatively well accepted but not Japanese ones yet," he said. Despite the struggle for Japanese firms to catch up with and then overtake their rivals, Okasan Economic Research Institute car analysts Yasuaki Iwamoto, believed the benefits of cornering even a small part of China's market outweighed the risk. "They all believe the risk in China is worth taking because the market itself will surely expand in the future," Mr Iwamoto said.  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

12/29/02
Industry News

Smoking verdict stands  The Oregon Supreme Court has let stand an $80 million verdict against cigarette-maker Philip Morris for allegedly concealing information about the dangers of smoking. The Tuesday decision not to review the case was a victory for the family of Jesse D. Williams, a Portland janitor who had smoked Marlboros for four decades and died in 1997 from lung cancer. The family had sued the world's largest tobacco company, claiming Williams kept smoking because he did not believe a company would sell something that was truly harmful. Philip Morris officials say they might ask the Oregon Supreme Court to reconsider. But they said they will eventually petition the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn or substantially reduce the award.  Even if the verdict survives the U.S. Supreme Court, the fight will continue. Under Oregon law, 60 percent of punitive damage awards goes to the state crime victims assistance fund. The next round of litigation, by both the tobacco industry and attorneys for the estate of Williams, will attempt to block the state from getting its cut.

12/29/02

Andersson explains driver changes  Ove Andersson, boss of the Toyota F1 outfit, has explained why Toyota changed their entire driver lineup, stating that McNish struggled too much in qualifying and Salo was often too negative with his comments. "First look at Allan. He's very good at PR and he works very well with the team," he explained in F1 Racing. "But I only gave him a go on the understanding that, if it didn't work out, he'd be prepared to step out of the car after the first three races. He did a good enough job to warrant a whole season, but I think it's fair to say that he struggled too much in qualifying. As for Mika, he did a very good job for us on the track, but there's a clear feeling in the team that we needed a change of direction. Sometimes Mika could be very negative which wasn't useful. Olivier, on the other hand, is a very positive person and that was the key factor in hiring him."

12/29/02

Prost still considering NASCAR  Four-time world champion Alain Prost has claimed that the narrow- mindedness of Formula One officials is killing public interest in the sport. The former director of the now-bankrupt Grand Prix team that bore his name, told the Swiss weekly newspaper Dimanche.CH. that Ferrari's domination of the sport was only part of the reason for waning public interest and the rest could be placed at the feet of the officials. "Changes are needed quickly beginning with a drop in costs and giving more importance to the driver," the Frenchman said. "Ferrari's domination which is often put forward as a reason for the fall in public interest is only an alibi. Formula One is currently living in a narrow-minded way which doesn't take into account the world economic situation and particularly sponsors." Prost, 47, who was forced to abandon his Grand Prix team at the beginning of the year due to financial problems, said that he would like to renew his contact with the auto racing industry but was more likely to do so in the North American NASCAR championship. "With a budget of 10 million dollars you can form a NASCAR team and have success. It's a formula that could tempt me," added Prost, who held the world record of 51 Grand Prix wins till Germany's five-time world champion Michael Schumacher overhauled it last season. AFP

12/29/02
Industry News

New circuit planned in France  According to this Grandprix.com article, if all goes to plan, work will begin shortly on the construction of a state-of-the-art racing facility near Bourg-en-Bresse in eastern France. The planned Euroracing Circuit is close to the Swiss border and within easy reach of the major French cities by motorway. The 2.5-mile racing facility will be built on a 200-acre site at Le Miroir, adjacent to a motorway junction from the new A39, which had boosted development in the region considerably since it was opened in 1998. The $60m project will feature an international spec racing circuit, an industrial park, a hotel complex, heliport, driving school and karting facility. The project has the backing of the Magnesium Alloy corporation of Halifax, Nova Scotia, which intends to build a European research centre at the site. Marcel Rigny, the chief executive of Magnesium Alloy has been appointed to head the board of the racing facility. The new circuit will be officially presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

12/29/02

Construction begins on Monterrey circuit  The 2nd race on the 2003 CART schedule is in Monterrey, Mexico, March 23rd.  Already construction has begun on a majority of the grandstand bleachers (see photo to right).  We have not heard of any changes to the track itself for 2003, changes that are desperately needed.  There has been a chorus of criticism about the lack of passing at the track, and it denies the TV viewers and fans what could be a spectacular show.  Without the changes (it was suggested that two of the chicanes be removed), we will be treated to another follow-the-leader parade.  Photo by Enrique Fortune

12/28/02

Steve Wynn wants to bring F1 back to Las Vegas  UPDATE AR1 has learned that Gerald Forsythe has been in talks with Wynn about a race.  What we don't know is whether he is negotiating for a F1 race or a CART race.  In either case, it's doubtful the downtown area has the stomach for a race, but if they pull it off, it might be successful.  

12/28/02

If CART goes back to Brazil, Rio is the place to be    These 1998 and 1999 photos of the CART roval in Rio Brazil shows aerial photos of the track and some action shots.  Note the near sellout crowd in 1999 (bottom left photo).  The last year of the race, 2000, was a complete sellout.  If CART goes back to Brazil, this is where they should race, except perhaps on the road course, clearly seen in the aerial photos.


 

12/28/02

The once great crowds at Fontana    This photo taken in 1998 at the CART race in Fontana shows how good the attendance (97,000) once was at the track.  Compare that to what we have now - the IRL sold a paltry 8,700 for its inaugural race at Fontana in 2002 and CART drew about 50% of what you see in this photo.  In recent years there is little doubt that the CART/IRL war has taken its toll on Fontana and most of the open wheel oval track venues.

12/28/02

Chevrolet announces 2003 Daytona Fan Fest  The 18th Annual Stock Car Racing Fan Fest presented by Chevrolet and co-sponsored by Sierra Entertainment, will be February 12-14, 2003 at the Ocean Center (101 N. Atlantic Ave.) in Daytona Beach, FL. the event was formerly known as the Circle Track Racing Expo. More than 30,000 expected attendees can peruse 60,000+ sq. ft. of exhibitor space featuring the latest product innovations, racing parts, and participate in daily pit crew challenges with more than $10,000 in cash prizes. The 3-day show will also feature driver appearances including autograph sessions with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and more than 10 other NASCAR drivers, an engine building contest, on-site 4x4 truck build up, a fishing "cast-off" contest sponsored by Pure Fishing and seminars on a host of racing-related topics. Fan Fest 2003 also includes activities for the whole family including a slot car racing area, video and interactive family games, as well as racing collectibles and souvenirs for sale at the show.

12/28/02

Should NASCAR give out franchises?  This Daytona Beach News-Journal article talks about offering NASCAR team owners a franchise, similar to what CART had, as a way to guarantee team owners something in return for being loyal to NASCAR.  The article cites several team owners who were forced out of the sport because of economic reasons.

12/28/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Sauber Confirm Leo Ress Departure
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12/28/02

Another newspaper reporter asleep at the wheel   In this Arizona Republic article, the author talks about the Highs and Lows in this year's racing season. Example . . . "Low: The uncertainty shrouding CART's future. More and more CART teams are defecting to the IRL for one reason or another. If it doesn't stop soon, no more CART, which would be a shame." The author ought to click on CART.com and AR1 and check out the continued existence and growth of CART in 2003. As teams leave CART, they are replaced by others. All CART teams were new at one time or another; even Green and Ganassi. More Highs and Lows . . .

12/28/02

Memo Gidley in live chat  Memo Gidley will be participating in a LIVE online question and answer "Chat" on January 2nd at 9-10PM (ESDT). He will be talking about his Forth Annual Hawaiian Karting Clinic, his new karting book and his plans for 2003. Please feel free to join Memo at that time or ask your questions in advance at this link.

12/27/02

Jeff Gordon to host Saturday Night Live  Jeff Gordon, the four-time Winston Cup champion, will become the first motorsports competitor to serve as guest host of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Jan. 11. In a high-profile marketing coup for NASCAR (everything they touch turns golden - a top-notch marketing team), Gordon, 31, will join a short list of professional sports and sports entertainment figures to host the live comedy-variety show that debuted in 1975. "What an honor to be given the chance to host the show," Gordon said. "It should be a great experience, but I don't know what to expect. It will probably be a lot like The Winston - controlled chaos."

12/27/02

Petree gets approval from panel on loans  According to this Henderson Times News article, Andy Petree Racing will be allowed to pay back a $5 million loan earlier than expected following approval by a county panel Monday. The Henderson County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority waived a 45-day notice period to let the company go ahead and repay a loan made by Wachovia bank. The money was in the form of bonds that the state allowed Petree to borrow privately through an Industrial Revenue Bond agreement, authority president Herbert Young said. "An industrial revenue bond is a tax-free (low-interest rate) bond allowable under the law that can be used for improvements to facilities and for pollution control," he said. "One of the things you have to do to pay this back early is to get permission of the authority which granted the right to get the bonds in the first place." Such bonds have been in place for industrial development for more than 25 years, Young said. Andy Petree Racing is considered a manufacturing industry, and that's why it qualified for this type of loan, he said. "Raw materials go in and a race car comes out," he said. Because these types of bonds are loans and industries have the right to pay them back, the money is not considered a gift, Young said. The money comes from a private source, but the borrower must have state government approval and the authority acts as a conduit, he said. "Personally, I think it (Andy Petree Racing) has been a great addition to the community," Young said. "He's been a big booster of the community, a positive thing for the county and his people spend a lot of money here. We wish him well."

12/27/02

Zanardi says CART/IRL split real crisis, not F1  Alex Zanardi believes that the crisis in motorsport lies more in the United States than in F1 as everyone keeps claiming. "I believe that F1 is in a crisis to a certain degree but in America there is a true crisis," Zanardi told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. "NASCAR, although being all about the show, doesn't have a clean bill of health. The old Indy has lost a lot of points in the war between CART and IRL." Zanardi believes that the rival racing series in the US pose more of a threat to each other and are more likely to cause each other to fail, rather than F1 which has no direct rival series of such popularity in Europe. A former F1 driver himself, Zanardi believes that the series needs to be simplified in order to increase the importance of the driver's role. "They need to do something to recover the central role of the driver in driving the car," said the Italian. "The new rules could help a bit in this, especially with the new qualifying format."

12/27/02

Is there a future for NASCAR?  This Speedway Media article says, The youth movement within NASCAR has been something of a revelation these past years, with the new talent showing up in the series every week. This year names like Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Newman, have bedazzled us with some great performances, and while it is good for the sport that with every new face, is a new young fan, has anyone stopped to consider the consequences to the sport. With each new face, another veteran of the sport is forced to retire, another independent forced to close and with the media hype surrounding the newfound youth, is it any wonder that sponsors are busy searching for the next hot young thing. However, has anyone stopped to ask what this will do to the sport? Has anyone sat down and considered those fans that have followed their driver for years on end! At the end of the day, what about Sponsor loyalty to the fans who have supported them for years, or does that no longer matter?  More....

12/27/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Jos Targets Mid-January Announcement
No Race Drive For Anthony Davidson
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Justin Wilson Denies Height Handicap
Brief: Popularity, Glam, And Frenchmen
Jaguar Pilots: No Testing Ban For Us
Verstappen Ponders New Teammate Wilson
Montoya Snares Latin America Title
Irvine Rejects Motorsport Lifeline
Coulthard On The Perils Of 'Eye Candy'

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below

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